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Address in Behalf of the Societies of Menonists and German Baptists


Tuesday, November 7, 1775.

A quorum met pursuant to adjournment.

The Order of Friday last, for the Committee of the Whole House to sit again this morning, being called for and read, was postponed till the afternoon.

The House adjourned to three o' clock, P˙ M.

An Address or Declaration, signed by divers persons in behalf of the Societies of Menonists and German Baptists in this Province, was presented to the House, and follows in these words, viz:

"In the first place, we acknowledge us indebted to the most high God, who created heaven and earth, the only good being, to thank him for all his great goodness and manifold mercies and love, through our Saviour, Jesus Christ, who is come to save the souls of men, having all power in heaven and on earth.

"Further, we find ourselves indebted to be thankful to our late worthy Assembly, for their giving so good an advice, in these troublesome times, to all ranks of people in Pennsylvania, particularly in allowing those who, by the doctrine of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, are persuaded in their consciences to love their enemies, and not to resist evil, to enjoy the liberty of their consciences; for which, as also for all the good things we enjoyed under their care, we heartily thank that body of Assembly, and all high and low in office who have advised to such a peaceful measure, hoping and confiding that they, and all others intrusted with power in this hitherto blessed Province, may be moved by the same spirit of grace which animated the first founder of this Province, our late worthy proprietor, William Penn, to grant liberty of conscience to all its inhabitants, that they may, in the great and memorable day of judgment, be put on the right hand of that just Judge, who judgeth without respect of person, and hear of him these blessed words: ‘Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you, &c. What ye have done unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done unto rue.’ Among which number (i˙ e. the least of Christ' s brethren) we, by his grace, hope to be ranked; and every lenity and favour shown to such tender consciences, although weak followers of this our blessed Saviour, will not be forgotten by him in that great day.

"The advice of those who do not find freedom of conscience to take up arms, that they ought to be helpful to those who are in need and distressed circumstances, we receive with cheerfulness towards all men, of what station they may be, it being our principle to feed the hungry, and give the thirsty drink. We have dedicated ourselves to serve all men, in every thing that can be helpful to the preservation of men' s lives, but we find no freedom in giving or doing, or assisting in any thing by which men' s


lives are destroyed or hurt. We beg the patience of all those who believe we err in this point.

"We are always ready, according to Christ' s command to Peter, to pay the tribute, that we may offend no man; and so we are willing to pay taxes, and to render unto Caesar those things that are Caesar' s, and to God those things that are God' s, although we think ourselves very weak to give God his due honour, he being a spirit and life, and we only dust and ashes.

"We are also willing to be subject to the higher powers, and to give in the manner Paul directs us: ‘For he beareth the sword not in vain, for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.’

"This testimony we lay down before our worthy Assembly, and all other persons in Government, letting them know that we are thankful as abovementioned, and that we are not at liberty, in conscience, to take up arms to conquer our enemies, but rather to pray to God, who has power in heaven and earth, for us and them.

"We also crave the patience of all the inhabitants of this Country. What, they think to see clearer in the doctrine of the blessed Jesus Christ, we will leave to them and God, finding ourselves very poor; for faith is to proceed out of the word of God, which is life and spirit, and a power of God, and our consciences is to be instructed by the same, therefore we beg for patience.

"Our small gift, which we have given, we gave to those who have power over us, that we may not offend them, as Christ taught us by the tribute penny.

"We heartily pray that God would govern all hearts of our rulers, be they high or low, to meditate those good things which will pertain to our and their happiness."

Ordered to lie on the table.